U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a stark call to action Thursday as heatwaves shatter global temperature records and extreme weather wreaks havoc across the planet, climate impacts that the senator called a mere glimpse of what Earth’s “dystopian future could look like” if governments remain subservient to the fossil fuel industry.
“Climate change is ravaging the planet,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said in an 11-minute address posted to his social media accounts. “If there is not bold, immediate, and united action by governments throughout the world, the quality of life that we are leaving our kids and future generations is very much in question.”
The senator ran through a litany of alarming statistics and recent real-world examples of the consequences of world leaders’ failure to rein in planet-warming fossil fuels, including two consecutive days of record-breaking heat just this week, unprecedented wildfires in Canada, rapidly rising sea levels on China’s densely populated coast, catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, drought and increasingly severe hunger in Somalia, and more.
“It is no great secret that human beings are not particularly anxious to address painful realities,” Sanders said. “This is especially true when it requires taking on powerful special interests like the fossil fuel industry and their endless amounts of money. But this time, this time, we must act and act boldly. Our Earth is warming rapidly. We see this every day, in every part of the world.”
Acknowledging that some progress was made toward speeding the development of renewable energy sources under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, Sanders said that “obviously much much more needs to be done” and called on Congress to take legislative action “instead of doing the bidding of oil, gas, and coal companies” and “fomenting a new Cold War with China.”
“Mostly, to my mind, that means raising the level of urgency and bringing the world together now, not next year, not five years from now, but now to address this existential threat. Failure to act will doom future generations to an increasingly unhealthy and uncertain future,” the senator warned. “For the sake of our kids and our grandchildren, for the sake of our common humanity, we cannot allow that to happen.”
The senator’s remarks came hours after the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said last month was the hottest June on record globally “by a substantial margin.”
“This is alarming,” Jennifer Marlon, a climate scientist at the Yale School of Environment, toldCNN on Thursday. “It’s hard to imagine what summers will be like for our children and grandchildren in the next 20 years. This is exactly what global warming looks like.”